Randi felt as if she'd thawed out in a block of ice. Now she was melting. Melting into a puddle of sorts. The tears kept coming. She'd never cried like this. Never.
"Its all my fault. All of it." She sniffed, wondering if Zeke was really listening. "Did you tell him..you know..about..her?" That had to be it. Noel thought she was a lesbian. She tried to clear her throat, but the tears were like a hot stream, flooding her hot face.
"I..I haven't even spoken to Noel." Zeke's eyes were so serious. "I swear I didn't say anything..to anyone."
Randi guessed it was wrong of her to bring that up. She tried to breathe, but it was hard. She might just kill herself from all the crying, and not even mean too.
"Gabby works in an orphanage in Cambodia." She remembered. Even she was making more of a difference out there, than Randi ever expected to. "Even so, she..she cheated on me." She bubbled up with tears once more, and she let them come as if she had to make peace with that, all over again.
"I know you deserve better. You really do. But maybe..maybe ...Noel will come right back." Zeke told her as she tried to look at him through watered eyes. She shook her head, no.
"I got fat." That was the real reason Noel wasn't here. "How ridiculous is that?" She found herself laughing, yet she returned to the state she was in. Her body was stiff. It ached. She could hardly move, even if she showed those mean nurses, she could get up and get in her own bed on her own. They all looked shocked. She guessed she amazed them, but it really wasn't much of a comfort now.
Finally, some nurse came in to take her vitals. Then came the baby, rolled in..in a clear crib. It made her think of a little monkey, for some reason. So wrinkly, and pink. But the eyes looked at her as if she knew her.
Randi choked on her tears. "I'm all you got kid. All you got." She needed to make this work. Somehow. The nurse put her in her arms. They talked for a bit how Ari wasn't breathing very well, at first, but she was OK now. Randi remembered how she looked as if she came out of a vat of cottage cheese when she was born. the baby looked as if she didn't want to be disturbed. And she didn't cry..which left Randi to suspect it was not going to end well.
But now her little long fingers covered one eye as if she was trying to play peek-a-boo. Suddenly, Randi realized the baby had Noel's eyes. It was as if he was looking at her through the baby's eyes. Randi could hardly breathe. It felt like a cruel joke of some kind.
The nurse talked to her about breastfeeding. And she didn't mean Randi would have to try it in a day or two, but right now.
"I think I..I should go." Zeke got up to make his exit.
"OK." She knew she couldn't ask him to stay.
"You're gonna do fine. It'll be OK. You'll see." He sounded as if it were a promise. As if he knew the future. But she kept crying, softly.
The nurse told her breast milk was best, especially for preemies. They thrived much better with the closeness of their mother and their mother's milk. Randi nodded. Perhaps, this might be the most important thing she ever did. She wanted a happy baby. She really did.
"I'm not like this all the time." She told Ari. "Really, I'm not."